I was born and raised in Gibson City, a small rural town in central Illinois. My mother was an avid bowler and would bring home bowling score sheets where we would turn them over and draw on the blank side.

Most of the pictures I drew were of people riding in Ferris wheels and rollercoasters.

Later, I drew scenes of war battles along with my brothers. One of the first books I illustrated was a World War II book about Pearl Harbor.

I studied commercial art at Southern Illinois University. After graduating, I began working as a technical illustrator drawing manuals for farm machinery. I studied oil painting with Gerald Merfeld in New Lenox, Illinois. During that time, I worked as an illustrator for the pinball and video arcade industry.

Following that, I moved into the advertising business where I draw storyboards for Hallmark and Walt Disney. It was during this time that I illustrated my first picture book, Taking Flight: The Story of the Wright Brothers.

Soon, various projects followed, leading up to William's House, a book about a New England family building their first house. Unfortunately, that book has been long out of print.

Eventually, my art became focused mostly on historical subjects. I illustrated two successful books by Dennis Brindell Fradin: Let It Begin Here! Lexington and Concord: First Battles of the American Revolution. A fascinating version of the sequence of events that led up to the American Revolutionary war. My second book for Dennis was about a famous duel between two famous Americans, Duel! Hamilton and Burr's Deadly War Of Words.

I also illustrated George Did It!, a funny book on George Washington, by Suzzane Tripp Jurmain, a story of how George got things done. I am working on a second book with Suzanne.

The Society Of Childrens Book Writers and Illustrators awarded me the prestigious Golden Kite award for Not Afraid of Dogs by Susanna Pitzer. This is about a little boy named Daniel who not only overcomes his fear of dogs but becomes best buddies with a cute little mutt named, Bandit.

Since history is one of my favorite subjects, I illustrated a wonderfully written book on the Boston Tea party titled, Colonial Voices: Hear Them Speak, by Kay Winters. The reader follows Ethan, a young errand boy who scampers through the town of Boston delivering a broadside announcing the rebellious act of dumping tea into Boston Harbor that night. By observing the end papers, you can follow Ethan's route and the coinciding times he visits the merchants throughout the day. Pay close attention to the clocks within the pictures in the book.

Humor is good. That's why I chose to illustrate Bye-Bye, Baby, by Richard Morris. This is a story about a little boy, Felix, and his stuffed donkey, Poncho. After his new baby sister arrives, Felix thinks of ways to get rid of her while the family is visiting the zoo. There's a turn of events and Felix finds that she may not be so bad after all.

Sticking to the theme of humor, my next book is about two oblivious arctic fishermen, Nanook & Pryce, by Ned Crowley. Nanook & Pryce travel completely around the world in one day on a floating chunk of ice. They are accompanied by their active dog, Yukon and a can of lively worms. You can see the movie trailer we made for the book on this website or visit nanookandpryce.com.

I have two sons; Andrew, who works as a storyboard artist. Andrew illustrated his first picture book, Now Hiring: White House Dog, for Walker & Co. And Peter, a singer/songwriter, whose band was called "The Obstacles" and is now in a group called "A Kidnap In Color".

 

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Biography